A Sleep paralysis is a sleep disorder in which the person is unable to move their body for a short period of time. The disorder is not dangerous and usually occurs in isolation, but sometimes in conjunction with other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy.
Doctors only speak of clinical sleep paralysis in the sense of a sleep disorder if this condition occurs while the person concerned is awake.
Sleep paralysis refers to a state of temporary inability to move that begins during or just before falling asleep. Sleep paralysis sets in when the person switches between wakefulness and sleep.
People are unable to move or speak for seconds or even minutes. It is not uncommon for you to experience a state of shock or panic during this time. A sleep disorder, such as sleep paralysis, often coexists with other sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy. Physical and psychological symptoms combine during sleep paralysis to create a horrific state for those affected.
People often report physical rigidity in the twilight state, combined with the uncomfortable feeling that an intruder is entering the room. Sleep paralysis can occur in connection with psychological or physical disorders such as anxiety disorders or migraines.
It is assumed that one in three people will have had some experience with Sleep paralysis will do. In order to understand the causes of sleep paralysis, it is important to realize that there is still a transition phase between the states of consciousness, awake and asleep.
In this phase, components of the waking state still exist, such as information about the environment, but information from the dream state already overlaps here. Usually this transition goes smoothly. Sleep paralysis is associated with the REM phase. During this phase, too, dreams are only lived out through the eyes.
It is believed that some psychological or sleep behavior disorders can contribute to sleep paralysis. These include depression, anxiety disorders, stress, narcolepsy, drug or alcohol abuse.
The sufferer cannot move during sleep paralysis. Doctors only speak of clinical sleep paralysis in the sense of a sleep disorder if this condition occurs while the person concerned is awake. Prolonged paralysis can occur alone or as part of another sleep disorder. If there is another sleep disorder, additional symptoms are possible, for example problems falling asleep and staying asleep or being tired during the day.
In predormital sleep paralysis, paralysis occurs before going to sleep, whereas postdormital sleep paralysis is characterized by paralysis after waking up. The person affected often perceives his surroundings, but he cannot move or speak. Some people feel as if they are outside of their own body and looking at their body from above or from the side.
Neuropsychological symptoms such as hallucinations can occur during sleep paralysis. With a hallucination, the patient perceives sensory impressions for which there is no adequate stimulus. For example, people affected by sleep paralysis can hear voices or see objects, people and movements that are not real. Patients may also feel that they are being touched or stabbed with a sharp object. These and similar perceptions fall into the area of tactile hallucinations.
Other possible symptoms of sleep paralysis are anxiety, panic, and anxiety. Some people feel their breathing unusually clearly or have the feeling that they can no longer breathe.
Sleep paralysis is diagnosed by excluding other sleep disorders by their individual symptoms. A special focus is placed on narcolepsy, as this disorder is in many cases associated with sleep paralysis.
However, the genetic test for narcolepsy makes it easy to rule out this disorder. When other possible sleep disorders are ruled out, the individual's experiences and symptoms are compared with the well-documented experiences of countless other patients. If more than one aspect is agreed, sleep paralysis can be diagnosed.
The doctor may also ask the patient to keep a journal of sleep habits and experiences; Discuss personal and family medical history of insomnia; Recommend a referral to a sleep specialist who may perform some tests that may require staying in a sleep laboratory.
Sleep paralysis usually does not cause major complications. Many people panic when they are awake but unable to move. In conjunction with the hallucinations and nightmares that occur sometimes, this can lead to shock. Recurring sleep paralysis can lead to sleep disorders.
In the long term, the symptoms can promote feelings of fear, stress and, under certain circumstances, depression. Very rarely, sleep paralysis can cause an acute panic attack. The sudden startle can lead to accidents and thereby further health complications. Physically weakened people can suffer cardiovascular problems as a result of the sleep disorder. When treating sleep paralysis, the risks come from unsuitable self-treatment.
Those affected take action against the sleep disorder, for example with the help of sleep medication or alcohol, which can lead to addictive behavior and ultimately addiction. Natural sedatives such as valerian can cause itching, reddening of the skin and headaches if overdosed. Finally, people with recurring sleep paralysis often stay awake longer or sleep too little - there is a lack of sleep and the stress level increases. In addition, a lack of sleep promotes mental illness and often leads to accidents in everyday life and at work.
If the person concerned experiences periods of inability to move, he should speak to a doctor. A diagnosis is necessary so that serious illnesses can be ruled out and information on how to deal with the complaints in everyday life can be provided. Those affected need help if they have anxiety, panic or sleep disorders. If stressful situations arise in everyday life due to the inability to move or if there is a change in sleeping habits, a doctor is required. Fatigue, loss of concentration or attention are worrisome.
If there is a decrease in cognitive or physical performance, a doctor should be consulted. If the daily requirements can no longer be met, if the person concerned has headaches or migraines and if he suffers from a general feeling of illness, he needs help.
The disease is related to the natural sleep process. Therefore the symptoms appear immediately before going to sleep and should be presented to a doctor. If the limbs can no longer be controlled willingly, this is a sign of a health irregularity. Sensory disturbances, irregularities in sensitivity or changes in breathing perception are characteristic of sleep paralysis and should therefore be discussed with a doctor. Hearing voices, hallucinations or regional paralysis are all indicators of a disease. If the symptoms recur, a doctor is needed.
A Sleep paralysis is not dangerous. For most people who have this unfamiliar experience, it is sufficient to have basic education about the disorder and thus to know that nothing dangerous is happening to them.
In most cases, sleep paralysis occurs in isolation and with no symptoms of other disorders. However, if it occurs together with narcolepsy, a disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep, sometimes with hallucinations, special treatment must be provided. A big problem with sleep paralysis is certainly the lack of understanding of what is happening to the person concerned. Many experience panic, shock and the fear of going back to sleep.
It is advisable to work with a specialist to find out what the individual causes are that can trigger sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is more common in people when they lie on their back, and well-regulated sleep hygiene should also be observed. This includes various factors, for example: you should only sleep in bed, no late meals, etc.
In addition to an individual treatment of Sleep paralysis, many components of healthy sleep hygiene are also considered solid disorder prevention. This includes planning for adequate sleep during the night. It takes most people 7 to 9 hours. Heavy meals, alcohol, or caffeine before bed are just as negative, as is watching TV in bed.
Sleep paralysis, even if it has occurred regularly, has no physical health consequences. Nevertheless, follow-up treatment may be indicated, especially if the sleep paralysis occurs repeatedly. It depends on whether the sleep paralysis has caused psychological complications or not.
The conscious experience of one or more sleep paralyses can trigger anxiety disorders and depression, the fear of falling asleep and even the fear of a vegetative state. If such a mental illness developed as a result of sleep paralysis, it must be treated. The treatment should consist of drug therapy with anti-anxiety drugs and possibly with antidepressants, as well as non-drug therapy in which the fears associated with sleep paralysis are dealt with intensively.
In particular, if there is a fear of sleeping, it may be necessary to give sleeping pills (Z-drugs, benzodiazepines) at the beginning of the therapy in order to enable those affected to fall asleep. Behavioral therapy to learn to deal with anxiety can also be helpful. In addition, certain breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques (progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobsen, yoga) can be learned that help combat fear and actively enable people to fall asleep.
Sleep paralysis is usually harmless and goes away by itself after a few minutes. Affected people can counteract the paralysis by consciously moving a part of the body. The eyes should be opened and moved so that the body can adjust to the unfamiliar situation. Mantras that are recited after waking up also help.
In 60 percent of cases, sleep paralysis occurs in the supine position. It is best to sleep on your stomach or side to reduce the chance of sleep paralysis. A sleep phase alarm clock helps to wake up during the sleep phases when sleep paralysis occurs. An active everyday life with sufficient exercise and variety can also reduce the symptoms of nightly paralysis. Soothing teas and relaxation exercises before bed also help. The progressive muscle relaxation relieves tension and prevents the body from cramping up during sleep.
If sleep paralysis occurs repeatedly, a visit to a doctor is recommended. Sometimes the uncomfortable paralysis is due to an illness or the use of medication. The doctor can clarify the causes and treat them. If the symptoms persist, the brain waves are measured in a sleep laboratory, whereby the psychological triggers of the sleep disorders can be determined. In individual cases, sleep paralysis is based on psychological complaints that need to be clarified.